Serial Ports on Your PC - dummies

Serial Ports on Your PC

Although the serial port may not be fossilized, it did originally appear with the premiere of the IBM PC. Serial ports have largely been replaced by USB ports (and the devices that serial ports used to connect now use USB). But your computer may sport a serial port or two.

However, you can still find the following serial devices from time to time (usually used, and probably on eBay):

  • Modems

  • Game controllers (especially the more complex gamepads)

  • Digital cameras

  • Personal digital assistant (PDA) docks for Palm and Pocket PC units

Serial devices aren’t plug and play, so you have to reboot your PC before Windows recognizes them. Also, serial devices — especially modems — might require additional manual configuration inside Windows, such as editing files with Notepad and turning off certain port features.